Governor cites own experience of growing up without health care in letter to HHS secretary

Gov. Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott’s Administration has sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price outlining greater flexibility the state is requesting for Florida’s Medicaid program to cut federal red tape and provide higher quality care to better serve low-income Floridians. If approved by HHS, these changes will be added to the state’s current 1115 Managed Medical Assistance waiver.

“The State of Florida is requesting greater flexibility from the federal government in running our statewide Medicaid program so we can deliver high-quality care without layers of government bureaucracy. My goal is to turn the top-down, Washington-knows-best approach of the Obama Administration on its head by requesting flexibilities from the Trump Administration to manage our own Medicaid program based on the needs of Florida families. It is important to me that we have these flexibilities while not removing anyone from our current Medicaid program,” Scotts said.

“While there are many debates in Washington on the future of health care in our nation, I am going to fight to get rid of the burdensome, duplicative and costly federal requirements put in place by the Obama Administration. I firmly believe states can administer Medicaid far more efficiently than the federal government and that health care decisions made at the state level will be more successful than decisions made in Washington.

“Unfortunately, the previous administration was determined to micro-manage every aspect of our health care system from Washington, which led to the high costs and limitations of services we currently see across the nation. Their excessive strong-arming put politics before the needs of families in our state. With our request, I am confident we can put Florida in the driver’s seat for providing the best Medicaid services.

“I grew up without health care and I personally know the importance of having access to quality care. I also ran the nation’s largest health care company and I understand the need to provide quality care to patients. Lowering costs while increasing access and quality of care to patients is critical and lifting the Obama-era onerous regulations will help us achieve that. I appreciate that the Trump Administration is focused on empowering states with flexibility to manage our own Medicaid programs and I look forward to working with them through this process.”

Florida is submitting the following requests to change its current 1115 MMA waiver, which include:

  • A block grant of federal funds as a replacement for Florida’s various supplemental payment programs along with annual savings the state achieves through Florida’s current 1115 waiver.
  • Flexibility regarding retroactive eligibility.
  • HHS’s support to strengthen the relationship between Medicaid beneficiaries and primary care providers.
  • HHS’s support to eliminate federal requirements that lead to duplicative work at the state level and federal level for certified Medicaid managed care rates.
  • HHS’s support to remove the federal administrative burdens placed on the state by the “Access Rule.” The rule creates massive state and federal administrative burdens and threatens direct federal interference with every state’s appropriations and budget processes.


  1. Bureaucrats buried inside different agencies of the federal government writing rules and regulations for everyone, one size fits all, is one of the biggest downfalls of federal government. The people closest to the situations should be the ones making decisions about it. Education is a perfect example, it belongs in the hands of the school districts themselves not some bureaucrat in the Education Department in DC, the same for health care.

  2. Sorry Governor, I have to disagree with you. Now is the time for universal health care, which is what the majority of Americans want. I don’t support state rights when it comes to health care; some states such as California will provide more care while other states such as West Virginia will provide less. This is not acceptable. Only the Federal Government can insure equal care for our citizens across all states. I urge you to support the expansion of Medicare to cover all Americans.

    • J.T. …I think Scott is doing the right thing by being open to Trumps plans and open to how it best serves Floridians, at my age I just prefer to “go with the flow”, rather than press for something that the administration is no longer interested in providing. I grew up in Florida without health insurance and anything for kids is better than nothing.